Competition on the Tel Aviv - San Francisco route is heating up. United Airlines is increasing its supply of seats on its daily flights from Tel Aviv to San Francisco.
Starting in May, United Airlines will use ER 777-300 airliners with 366 seats on these flights, instead the 219 seats per flight at present. This will add 2,000 seats a week on the route, and cut ticket prices, which currently start at $1,160, by $300 a ticket.
Each flight using the new airliners will have 204 tourist class seats, 102 economy plus seats, and 60 Polaris (business) class seats. The additional seats will be available only during the summer (from late May until October).
At the same time, starting this November, El Al Israel Airlines Ltd. (TASE: ELAL) will start operating three weekly direct flights on the Tel Aviv-San Francisco route. Dreamliners will be used for these flights, with tickets in tourist class starting at $1,200.
The increase in the number of seats on United Airlines' flights is not a result of competition with El Al, but demand for destinations on the coasts from both the business community and families during the summer. United has sought to enlarge the map of its destinations from Israel for years, but the airline's shortage of airplanes kept it from allocating airplanes to routes to Israel - United Airlines is using its stock of airplanes for new routes on the markets in China and the Persian Gulf states, which are continually growing. At the same time, increasing the number of seats will enable the company to grow.
United Airlines Israel managing director Avi Friedman said that the company was also considering increasing the supply of seats on its morning flight to Newark by switching from the 777s used at present, which have 267 seats, including 50 in business class, to ER 777-300 planes. This will add 100 seats per flight, after the supply on flights was already increased last year. The number of passengers carried by United Airlines in 2017 grew by 25%, with the airline carrying over 541,000 roundtrip passengers in 2017 on routes to the US.
Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on March 21, 2018
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